Monday, April 9, 2012

When delete...isn't deleted....... Recovering deleted files

I seriously do not know why on earth someone would spend their time writing malware, spyware and software that will totally destroy and infect your computer and destroy precious pictures and software. Seriously EVIL PEEPS? Can't you find something better to do with your time?

Well..enough venting, that didn't solve anything but I do want to share just a couple little tidbits I learned and I'm blogging it - for one, because I might need to refer to this again, and for two, maybe one of you out there is experiencing or has experienced the same thing and hopefully this will save you a little money.

Saturday night, Dana's lap top came up with this error that wouldn't let it write to the hard drive, as we opened picture files, those files were deleted and we literally watched icons disappear on the "desktop" in front of our eyes. Dana was just sick that he lost all his hunting pictures!

My first thought was to just dump the whole system and reload it fresh since it appeared that the files we wanted we're deleted, what did we have to lose?  (first of all - major lesson in backing up anything of value, sensitive or precious hunting photos)

Most people think that when you delete something *permanently* off your hard drive, it's just that...deleted...but it really isn't.  Actually, in real people non nerdy, sorta geeky terms, the computer loses the link to the deleted file and marks it as "okay to write over" if it should happen need that space in the future.  So...until the computer  needs that space it is still there and possibly recoverable.  This is why it's important not to download a bunch of stuff or add/copy a bunch of files to your drive because these new files, might replace and write over  the old files that you are wanting to cover.

The first thing I had to do was to do a system recovery and set the system back to the way it was before the problem happened.  Typically in windows you can do a search for "system recover" and it will walk you thru.

Once that is finished and your computer is fairly stable, download to a zip drive a "unerase" program that will look at all the files on your hard drive and recover those you specify.  I downloaded one that was freeware from the internet, but eventually had to pay $30 to have it recover my files because it was a trial version (still cheap if you really want those files back).

Once you download the unerase program, run it and scan your hard drive.  Generally it will come up with a list of files on your computer.  In this case I was looking for two specific files on my desktop and all the "My Picture" files.  Once you select the files you want to recover, click the recover button and make sure that you also write these to a zip drive not to your hard drive as it may write over some files that you want to recover.

When it was finished...viola!  I had recovered all my hubbys hunting photos (photos he can't replace) and he's a happy camper. permanently get rid of whatever it was that infected the computer, I'm safe to wipe and reload....

I sure hope I never have to do this again !!!

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